San Gimignano tour, private visits in San Gimignano

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San Gimignano rises on a hill (334m high) dominating the Elsa Valley with its towers. Once the seat of a small Etruscan settlement during the Hellenistic period (200-300 BC) we can start to refer to it as a town around the 10th century; deriving its name from the Holy Bishop of Modena, St. Gimignano. The town witnessed a major economical and architectural development during the Middle Ages also thanks to the "Via Francigena"  the trading and pilgrim's route, which connected Rome to France and that crossed it. In 1199 it became a free municipality and fought against the Bishops of Volterra and the surrounding municipalities. Due to internal power struggles it eventually divided into two factions, one headed by the Ardinghelli family (Guelphs) and the other by the Salvucci family (Ghibellines). On the 8th May 1300 Dante Alighieri  honoured San Gimignano with his visit as “ Ambassador of the Guelph League in Tuscany”. In 1348 San Gimignano's population was drastically reduced by the Black Death Plague throwing the city into a serious crisis which eventually led it to be conquered by Florence in 1353.
In the following centuries San Gimignano overcame its decline and isolation when its beauty and cultural importance along with its agricultural heritage were rediscovered. The construction of the towers dates back to the 11th and 13th centuries. The architecture of the city was influenced by Pisa, Siena and Florence.
Once in San Gimignano, other than admiring the famous towers, you can also see the “Duomo” or Collegiate Church, the “Palazzo del Popolo”, the “Palazzo Nuovo del Podestà”(which is now the town hall), S. Agostino Church, the Museum of Holy Relics, and the infamous Museum of Torture, which displays  instruments of torture, that were in use throughout the middle age . On a lighter note, are the numerous, beautiful  shops selling local products and delicacies including the “Vernaccia” wine, definitely one of the best white wines all over Italy.

San Gimignano tour
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